These days the visual novel genre is unfortunately associated mostly with adult content, which means there are plenty of titles that get ignored despite catering to different audiences. One of the titles that deserve more attention is Seven Days by LIFE0 and Fruitbat Factory. At first glance, Seven Days appears to be a horror title as the protagonist, Kanzaki Shuuichi, comes into possession of a cursed Blu-ray disc. Shuuichi is not completely convinced that this disc is the real deal, but quickly finds out how wrong he is. Fortunately, his neighbor and childhood friend, Sairenji Murasaki, has a lot of experience with ghosts and saves Shuuichi from a terrible fate by performing an exorcism on the disc. This has the unintended and quite unexpected side effect of leaving behind the physical form of the female ghost that inhabited the disc. Shuuichi and Murasaki are even more shocked to discover that the now corporeal girl, named Kikanagi Chiyako, is sharing her body with six other girls. Like Chiyako, these girls died under tragic circumstances. The bad news is that while the curse has seemingly been broken, Chiyako only has 49 days left in the world before her spirit will depart permanently. Thanks to Murasaki’s experience with spirits she is able to grant each of the girls control of Chiyako’s body for seven days, giving them enough time to hopefully leave this world under happier circumstances than before. Shuuichi kindly volunteers to take in Chiyako and her companions and vows to help in any way that he can to make their last days as fulfilling as possible.
Although the story is not that unique, it is the characters that really make Seven Days such a pleasure to play. However, as much fun as it is to spend time with the different girls, it is also a bittersweet experience as you know there is no happily ever after waiting for the characters. This is something that Shuuichi experiences as well as each week he has to say goodbye to one of the girls forever. As emotional as the story is, it’s not just doom and gloom. Each girl is given her own chapter and these are filled with lighthearted moments, laugh out loud situations and plenty of charming interactions. Unlike other visual novels, the focus in Seven Days is not on romance, but that does not mean Shuuichi or the girls can not fall in love. It does, however, mean that the final farewell is going to be that much harder when it inevitably occurs.
In contrast to the typical “paths” for each character that is commonly found in visual novels with multiple heroines, Seven Days favors a more linear approach. Each girl is given their own chapter and once concluded you can choose to move on to the next one or replay any of the previous ones. The game is filled with choices that can be made, so replaying previous chapters is useful for exploring the different outcomes. You will also need to reach specific outcomes for each chapter if you want to be able to progress to the true ending in the final chapter. It’s a straightforward system and worked well, which is a relief as these things can get quite messy in visual novels with branching storylines.
From a visual standpoint, Seven Days is a great looking game and it features plenty of really good art. The seven girls all take turns to possess one body, but each one of them imparts their own personality on it by changing outfits and hair color. The other characters, such as Murasaki and Shuuichi’s mother also look great and the game doesn’t skimp on CGs either. There are a few slightly risqué scenes in the game, but no nudity and no need for any patches to restore content. The setting is restricted to Shuuji’s house and surrounding areas, thanks to a magical barrier that the ghosts can’t cross. However, there’s no shortage of backgrounds as characters interact with each other in the various rooms of Shuuichi’s home as well as places like the main street, convenience store, park, beach and more. Even better, many of these areas are also shown in a different light, literally, depending on the time of day, which is a nice touch. Of course, Seven Days is a brand new title, so the visuals are in full HD, which isn’t always a guarantee for the genre.
The audio has been given just as much care and attention as the visuals, so you’ll hear plenty of background tunes as well as full Japanese voice acting for all the characters apart from Shuuichi. The user interface is intuitive to use and features everything one would expect from a visual novel, including the ability to quicksave, quickload, skip text that you have already read and so on. Interestingly, there is a button to rewind to the last choice that you have made, but not one to skip to the next choice. Players might also be caught off guard by the few reaction-based choices in the game where you need to quickly click on a button that appears.
Seven Days has its fair share of genre tropes and cliches but still manages to tell a very emotional story. Since its premise is so off the wall, it also means that there are some things that don’t quite make sense or push the boundaries of credibility, but overall it is a great game. The mixture of horror, slice of life, drama and humor, not to mention the emotional aspects makes it a very memorable title. Seeing the days get counted down for each character and knowing that they are running out of time makes it feel like every moment you spend with them counts. The final chapter also brings everything together in a very unexpected, but very welcome conclusion. It also appears that the game will feature an additional chapter, which is yet to be released at the time of writing this review. It’s going to be interesting to see what it will contain as the story is already wrapped up quite neatly and satisfyingly, provided you reach the true ending.
Overall, Seven Days kept us entertained and emotionally invested throughout the 25+ hours it took us to complete the game. The story could have been predictable but veered off in unexpected directions enough times to keep us on our toes. If you are looking for a visual novel with great visuals, good audio and most importantly, a moving story, then don’t miss out on Seven Days.
- OS: Windows 10/8/7/Vista
- Processor: Intel Pentium 2.4GHz or higher
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Storage: 3 GB available space
- Sound Card: DirectSound compatible sound card